Thursday, June 28, 2012

MSFV Baby Slushpile Query Critique

Just want to let folks know that I was fortunate enough to have my query chosen to be up on Miss Snark's First Victim for critique today. I haven't been haven't much luck with my querying so I'm super hopeful that this exercise will help me figure out what's wrong.

I will be eternally grateful to those that give a critique!

It's Baby Slushpile Entry #17 for anyone that's interested.

Thank you!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Book Review: The Help

I can't believe this is her debut novel.

Seriously, it's not fair how talented some people are. I'm not saying this book didn't take a lot of work. I'm sure it did. But a best-selling, major-movie-inspiring, phenomenally written debut novel?

I'm jealous. Lurk in her bushes to see if she's actually an alien kind of jealous.

For those of you who haven't read "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett, do yourself a favor: Drop whatever you are doing and go snag yourself a copy (Please note: the author of this blog is not libel for any damaged or broken property or babies).

I think it would be hard to give this book too much praise. It's beautifully written, timelessly poignant, and as heartfelt as it gets. The civil rights era was not that long ago and the big events and major players of this important time in America history have not been forgotten. But this book isn't about the big events. In this story, Mr. Stockett explores the day to day life of average working class southerners with wonderfully well rounded, flawed, sympathetic characters. She shows us the stubbornness and hate that go into full fledged racism living along side the simple ignorance that fuels divisions between race, sex, and class. Nobody is at fault yet everyone is to blame. Ms. Stockett gives voice (using the most effective phonetic writing I've ever seen) to women both black and white, using the differences between them to highlight the similarities. This book is so packed full of tension, flows so well, and is so hard to put down, that I stayed up past 11 pm on a weeknight to finish it (that might not sound like a big deal but you can ask my wife, nothing short than the hand of god will keep me out of bed most nights).

I look forward to and dread seeing the movie. I just hope they didn't screw it up too much.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Are You a Writer or a Blogger?

This isn't a post dogging blogging.

Hey, that rhymed!

Blogging has been a big help to me. I've found to great contacts who have helped me learn about the craft and given me a sense of community.

This is a post about time and prioritization.

As a writer, time is the most difficult thing to come by. I know I'm not the only one with this issue. There are countless posts out there about finding the time to write.

Write while you're on the toilet. Never watch TV. Sleep when you're dead. Etc...

Not gonna happen.

Creativity I have (I think). Technique I can hone. Style I can improve. But time is a finite resource; there's only so much to go around. And blogging takes time.

AND the thing about blogging is that it isn't really writing. Not creative, fictiony, character-driven, crawling with dwarfs and robots writing-that-I-love type writing anyway.

So, I'm going to try to cut back the blogging to one QUALITY post per week.

Please tune in next week for my thoughts on the difference between creative and technical writing and how they can influence one another.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

It's My Birthday

Today is my birthday. 

It's the bit three-ohhhhholy crap I'm getting old. 

I'm going out to the coast to do some fishing. 

My present to you is a little video. 

Several folks commented that they liked the picture of the curious deer I posted yesterday.

Her name is Violet. 

She's very curious...and hungry.

And I was very cold.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Award Catsup

"The blog awards poured forth across the earth smiting all manner of beast and man. They smote creatures that crawl in the dust and creatures that fly in the heavens. Then, for good measure they smitted some fish, because they could and fish are slimy. Finally they converged upon the lowly blog of a writer of questionable hygiene with every intent to smite the living bejesus out of him. But the odd looking writer was crafty and built a fortress forged from stacks upon stacks of rejection letters, holding the smite-happy blog awards at bay. Finally a truce was agreed upon involving banana pudding and peace fell over the land. The writer and the blog awards lived happily ever after. 

-The End-  

I was super busy last week and didn't get the chance to post much so I'm playing catch up. While I was off taking and grading finals, several generous individuals were kind enough to bestow my humble blog with an award! 

Pamela over at The Death Writer  and T.Z. Wallace at One Year Until Book Launch both bestowed me with The Versatile Blogger Award! 

Rather than follow the rules I'm going to follow Pamala's lead and post a picture of myself (and my beautiful wife) with a cigar.

Honeymoon Cruise!

Also, L.G. Keltner at Writing off the Edge was kind enough to give me the Fabulous Blog Ribbon and the Stylish Blogger award!

Again, rather than follow the rules, I'm just going to post a few pictures of some of my study animals because they are both stylish and fabulous!

Spawning fish.

Beaver live-trapping.

Sleepy elk.

Grizzly bear cub (drugged, not dead).
Curious deer.
Thanks to everyone for the awards! 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Where's Adam?

You may have noticed that I'm neglecting my blogging duties a little bit so I though I would give you a clue as to why.

I don't really have a bad project (it's actually pretty cool) but it is eating up time faster than...something...that eats a lot...quickly.

Hopefully things will settle down a little after this week. Until then, is it just me or does this look like the greatest movie ever made?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Give Your Characters An Out

You've been through some tough times in your life. You've made some decisions you regret; done and said some things you wish you hadn't.

I don't need to know you personally to know this. One of the most important things I've learned in my life is that everyone has issues. Some peoples issues are big and showy, some peoples issues are easier to hide. But everyone has issues. And as such, everyone has been through some tough times. That's life.

But you know what can make those tough times even tougher?

Having an out you didn't take.

You know what I mean. The dark feels just that much darker when you know you had a way out, an opportunity to right the ship that you didn't take. Missing an out can magnify regret and lead to some serious second-guessing down the road. It makes tough times tougher.

And it can add darkness, depth, and a psychological edge to your story.

You character's in trouble, the world is crumbling around her. Then the realization hits, "None of this would have happened if I would have just given the wizard back his giraffe." (or whatever)

Now your character has something to torture herself with. She has regret. She has something to remember when the next big decision comes her way. Has she learned from her mistakes or will she repeat them? Can she even recognize the out when it looks her in the face?

Give your characters an out and then don't let them take it. They won't love you for it but your audience will.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Ray Bradbury, 1920 - 2012

For those of you than don't know, author Ray Bradbury passed away last night at the age of 91.

Over the next few days I'm sure that there will be many remembrances of the man who was one of the pillars of speculative fiction and most of them will be far more eloquent than mine. I just want to say that Ray Bradbury wrote stories of the highest caliber. His works defined genres and set the bar for generations to come. He was, and is, a writer I look up to.

And he was a writer's writer. If you want to know what I mean, take a few minutes and watch this interview from 2010.

Ray Bradbury, you will be missed.

Monday, June 4, 2012

My First Microfiction

Our friend Vero over at Building Character has had a couple recent posts about a very interesting, very challenging medium called "Microfiction".

Basically microfiction is all about writing super short stories. Vero explains it better than I do.

I like the idea of trying to pack all the necessary story elements into a few words. It's one hell of a challenge.

Without further ado, here is my first attempt at microfiction.

                       Hospital hallway prayers unanswered, she lost her mom and her 
                       faith in the same last breath.

Well, what do you think?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Marvel Character Creater

Hey there super-writers!

I've found a pretty cool little tool that I'm corrupting for my own purposes: Marvel's "Create Your Own Superhero" game! It's not intended to be a writing tool but if you're having a hard time picturing your hero/heroine/villain/whatever and your worthless with a sketchpad (like me), this is a pretty sweet alternative.

Go in a pick your character's body type, hair, color, clothing, and accessories. The options are a little sparse but you can still come up with some pretty cool characters.

Check out the guy I made in just 10 minutes!

P.S. - I have another short story up for review at OFW and I would love to hear what you think about it. Just click on the "Critique" tab at the top of the page and then click "Participate in Peer Review" and "Read Submissions" to get to my post. It's titled "Lightning Flashed". I have another story titled "Untitled Robot Story" there also. Thanks!